The Biden administration has released plans under the Inflation Reduction Act to standardize electric-vehicle chargers nationwide, ensuring that they’re dependable and U.S.-made, and deployed on a massive scale throughout communities across the country. The private sector will be central to the effort.
The new details, announced on Feb. 15, build on the administration’s pledge to build out a network of 500,000 EV chargers within the next eight years, including a coast-to-coast charging system along major highways to support long-distance car trips.
Parallel to the announcement is the extension of the federal tax credit for EV chargers and associated equipment through December 31, 2032.
Under the Inflation Reduction Act, the tax credit for installing a home charger is 30% of hardware and installation costs, up to $1,000 per unit. For commercial uses, the credit covers 6% (up to $100,000 per unit) of the cost of the equipment. This is a notable increase from the previous limit, which was $30,000 per property. Also new are the inclusion of chargers for two- and three-wheeled vehicles, as well as bidirectional charging systems, in which a vehicle’s battery can either receive or dispense electric current.
The administration emphasized that private industry is integral to completing the successful transition to clean transportation, and is already helping drive the changeover.
“These announcements build on the well over $100 billion that the private sector has invested in electric vehicle, battery, and EV charging manufacturing in the U.S. to date,” a White House statement declared.
The newly revealed developments are funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s combined $24.5 billion investment in EV charging, clean transportation and EV battery components, along with the Inflation Reduction Act’s support for an array of federal initiatives intended to spur U.S. manufacturing and build out a nationwide EV charging network.
Updates to the plan include:
- Finalizing new charger standards to ensure all EV drivers can use the charging network, regardless of a vehicle’s make, or in which state the vehicle is being charged
- Requiring (under the Build America, Buy America Act) that all EV chargers funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law be manufactured in the U.S., effective immediately
- Providing more than $2.5 billion to deploy EV chargers “in communities across the country, including at schools, grocery stores, parks, libraries, apartment complexes, and everywhere else Americans live and work.”
The White House stated that,
“Until now, there were no comprehensive standards for the installation, operation or maintenance of EV charging stations, and disparities exist among EV charging stations in key areas, such as connector types, payment methods data privacy, speed and power of chargers, reliability and the overall user experience.”
The standards are designed to ensure that charging is reliable and predictable, chargers work when drivers need them to, drivers can easily find a charger without the need for multiple apps or accounts to charge.
The announcement noted specific private-sector participation in the project, including:
- Tesla opening at least 7,500 of its U.S. Superchargers and Destination Chargers to non-Tesla EVs by the end of 2024. (Superchargers have been available only to Teslas since their rollout more than a decade ago)
- Hertz and bp teaming up for a nationwide EV fast-charging network, with hubs serving rideshare, car rental customers and the public at high-demand locations such as airports
- General Motors, EVgo and Pilot Company partnering to build a coast-to-coast network of 350 kW fast chargers at Pilot and Flying J travel centers
- TravelCenters of America and Electrify America announcing a plan to install approximately 1,000 chargers at 200 Petro and TravelCenters of America locations
- Mercedes-Benz, ChargePoint and MN8 Energy combining resources to establish some 400 charging hubs with more than 2,500 fast-charging ports across the U.S. and Canada
- General Motors and FLO deploying up to 40,000 Level 2 chargers in local communities by 2026
- Francis Energy expanding its Oklahoma-based EV-charging operations into 40 states and Tribal Nations in 2023, with 50,000 charging ports to be in place by 2030
- Ford pledging to install DC fast chargers at 1,920 Ford dealerships by January 2024
- Forum Mobility committing $400 million for DC fast chargers to meet a predicted surge of heavy-duty electric trucks at California’s San Pedro and Oakland ports
The made-in-America mandate brings an added incentive for EV-charger businesses worldwide to focus on U.S. manufacturing. Among the companies setting up shop in the U.S., or establishing or expanding existing U.S. operations, are Australia-based Tritium DCFC Limited, ChargePoint, Spain-based Wallbox, South Korea-based SK Signet, Germany’s ADS-Tec Energy, Netherlands-based EVBox, Freewire, ABB E-Mobility, Siemens, EverCharge, Lincoln Electric, FLO, EdgeEnergy and Blink.
Another group of maintenance-focused organizations is coalescing to ensure that travelers have an uneventful trip by avoiding dead or malfunctioning chargers along their way. They include ChargerHelp! teamed with SAE International’s Sustainable Mobility Solutions, Mercedes-Benz USA and the U.S. Department of Labor, and workforce-management business QMerit.
As the White House Statement said,
“The result is that the future of American transportation is on track to be cleaner, safer, more affordable and more reliable than ever before.”
Written by John Kent, an independent journalist specializing in transportation and environmental issues. He served as a staff writer for the Albuquerque Journal and has contributed stories to the Associated Press, Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He is a contributing editor for Texas Climate News and a frequent contributor to GreenSource DFW.